This is the time of the programme when you think seriously about the options that are available to you: business project, internship programme or academic dissertation.

The Durham University Business School MBA offers these options to students before students complete their MBA. What do you choose? And where do you start? It depends. I will eagerly seize the opportunity for a business project or internship. My intention is to secure a business project in one of the airline companies in Europe or the US, a manufacturing company or an international organisation. But how would you differentiate yourself from others and how would you effectively market your skills and experience amid a very competitive business environment? It’s a tough ordeal.

It’s been one month into the second term and although there are only two core modules for this term, there are electives and countless other activities: the Durham speaker series and career workshops, among others. I reckon this term is another busy one.

I have chosen “change management” and “international enterprise project Sri Lanka (IEPS)” as my electives for this term. I am extremely excited to take part in the IEPS as it focuses on sustainable business processes. We were assigned to look at the marketability of sustainability initiatives for one of the leading hotel chains in Sri Lanka. Being part of this project is an enormous opportunity to experience first hand how business is conducted in this part of the globe, get immersed in a different culture and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Blending theory with practical application is what I like about this part of the MBA programme. I will write more about my experience in Sri Lanka in my future posts for sure.

Another challenging feature of the programme for this term is the Boardroom Activity – a simulation of an actual boardroom situation that culminates in a boardroom meeting role play which will be held in the first week of March and will be chaired by experienced company executives. For this exercise, the cohort was divided into groups. Our boardroom group consists of eight students, from eight different nationalities and professional backgrounds. Each of us was assigned a role, from chief executive to director of Africa region. I was appointed as chief financial officer, given my accounting and auditing background.

The task at hand is to review the business of one of the world’s leading beer brewing companies which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and provide recommendations on how to improve the operations, the financials and its business in general. Although there could be room for improvement in terms of timing and scheduling, overall this activity will rehearse us for the actual boardroom scenario and hopefully, we will emerge better equipped and experienced when we stepinto the real boardroom world.

No – this term is not all about hardwork. There is also time to be a little carefree. You should know that aside from being passionate about tennis, I am also a football fan (Real Madrid is my favourite team). Considering that Manchester is only about three hours away by train from Durham, who would want to miss an opportunity to watch a Manchester United game? So I and some of my MBA classmates (Daniel, Greg, Pat and Ana) went to see Manchester United beat Fulham at Old Trafford. It was a lot of fun.

See you next time.

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